How to approach brahmacharya


Is it necessary to be well established in brahmacharya or celibacy or moderation in order to grow spiritually or get good and fast results?

If yes, please send me some tips on how I can establish myself in brahmacharya.

—Prashant Malik, India (Hindu)


Although often taken to mean celibacy, brahmacharya refers to reining all the senses, of which the sense of touch is simply the most compelling, especially for men. For each person, there comes a time when brahmacharya is necessary in order to grow spiritually, because we must draw our energy inward and upward if we aspire to spiritual heights, yet our energy tends to flow outward via the senses to the world around us. Sooner or later, the outward flow must be stemmed.

Your word “moderation” is a healthy way to approach brahmacharya. When we become too extreme, too fast, we try to stop a powerful outward flow of energy simply by blocking it—and sooner or later, the pent-up energy will force its way out somewhere. We’ll feel deprived, resentful, and ultimately we’ll rebel—against brahmacharya at least, and perhaps toward the entire spiritual path. Instead, we must rein in the sense energies gradually as we learn to divert that flow inward and upward.

How to do this? First, realize that this process is directional: one step at a time. Rein in the senses without doing violence to your nature. Cut back in areas where you have habits of sense-indulgence, rather than eliminating those sense-enjoyments altogether. If you tend to overeat, try eating less, and enjoy the mental clarity that comes with not being stuffed. If sex is ruling you, lower the frequency and enjoy the energy and creativity that are freed up that way. You will feel a growing sense of freedom that will feed your desire to take another step, and another. It will be natural—no deprivation, no resentment, no rebellion.

Second, meditation is crucial. The Gita emphasizes that mere fasting from sense-indulgence is not sufficient, for the longing for it will remain, and that longing will pull us outward again. We need to cultivate a hunger for a higher enjoyment if we wish to transcend sense-dependence. You will find that higher enjoyment only through meditation, only through beginning to connect with God. It is the way of all great masters—and in the final analysis, the only way.

If you don’t yet meditate, you can find instruction on this website, which also provides a lot of support for those who already meditate.

May God bless your efforts.